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Friday, June 08, 2007

The Day in Comics -- My son had a field trip to the Bronx Zoo today that my wife accompanied him on, and faced with the choice of working while my daughter went to school, or both of us taking the day off and chasing comics around the northeastern United States, well, what do you think we did?

We left around dawn, and after a gigantic breakfast at Cracker Barrel (the one chain I don't try to avoid like the plague, although I am sure my doctor would be happier if I did), we jumped on the New York State Thruway and headed east to Massachusetts.

It's been a couple of years or more since I'd been to Modern Myths in Northampton, and believe me, it's been calling to me in my dreams. Probably the best-stocked store within three hours' drive of my home, and also one of the best-run and most attractive comic shops I've ever had the pleasure to be in. Luck was with me as manager Jim Crocker was on duty. Meeting and getting to know Jim and his store has been one of the biggest pleasures of my time writing about comics, and he not only welcomed my daughter and I to hang out for a few hours, but even treated us to lunch at an excellent Mexican restaurant right up the street. (There is an uncanny number of high-quality restaurants near Modern Myths, most of them really reasonably priced, too).

We had a good long chat about comics and the state of the industry, and Jim really went above and beyond by introducing my daughter to a manga and anime shop not far from his store. This is the first time ever, I think, that a comics-buying excursion ended with one of my kids getting as much or more than I did, but there were a lot of manga in Northampton that she was interested in, titles and genres you don't see much even in the Albany area. Nuff said.

Among my scores today were the new Ivan Brunetti collection Misery Loves Comedy (I was fence-sitting until Chris Allen convinced me it was worth picking up despite my having all the individual Schizo issues), the new Kev collection, and House by Josh Simmons, which I've heard many good things about.

Maybe the most interesting moment in Northampton was when Jim and I were talking politics and my daughter, nearly 14 now and becoming more and more aware of the world, asked what a liberal was. That led to a great discussion (over even greater ice cream -- ever had burnt sugar and butter flavour ice cream? Jim did not steer me wrong once during this entire trip!) about liberal vs. conservative and other subjects. Being in Northampton always feels like coming home to me, because of its culture, energy and the general character of the town. I'd long thought my daughter would really fit in well in a town like this, and by the time we were done with our trip today, she not only understood but agreed.

All in all it was a great day, one of those once-every-few-years kind of days where everything comes together just right. It won't be years before we return to Northampton again -- it's a great town with a truly first-class comic shop, and at the end of the day, that's all I really ask for.

Thanks to Jim and the gang at Modern Myths for being great hosts, and running one of my all-time favourite places to shop.

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Blogger CHunter said...


Glad you had such a great trip. This will be one of those daddy/daughter trips that she'll never forget, I'm sure.

Now to teach her what a liberal really is...


I only tease.

08 June, 2007 22:12  

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